Nuclear engineer

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Nuclear engineers are responsible for the safe running of nuclear power stations.

Salary range: £24,000 to £70,000

How to become a nuclear engineer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • a graduate training scheme

University

You can do a degree in a subject like:

  • nuclear engineering
  • chemical engineering
  • mechanical engineering
  • maths
  • physics
  • electrical engineering

Some employers will expect you to have a relevant postgraduate qualification.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and physics
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More information

Apprenticeship

You could get into the industry through a nuclear scientist or engineer degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship

More information

Other routes

You may be able to start on a graduate training scheme, like Nuclear Graduates, run by nuclear industry employers.

You’ll normally need a degree in a science or engineering subject to apply for a place.

More information

Career tips

You may need to relocate for work, as many power stations are in remote areas.

Further information

You can find details about careers in the the nuclear industry through Cogent.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of physics
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • design skills and knowledge
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • designing and building new plants and equipment
  • monitoring and measuring radiation levels
  • carrying out maintenance work
  • making sure that the plant structure meets legal requirements
  • being responsible for security and safety
  • supervising power station technicians
  • planning safe methods of nuclear waste disposal

Working environment

You could work at a power station, in a laboratory, in an office or in a control room.

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

Career path and progression

You could move into research, or university teaching. You could also work freelance.

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